Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kicked off the track

Yep, it was another of those pesky young athlete open meetings which meant we were moved on. Out into the wilderness. The vast baron wasteland that is the old airport or Hengrove park, call it what you will. The bottom line is that we were excommunicated, set adrift, abandoned. Outcasts, forced to live in exile. Renegades outside of the law [slaps face, shakes head].

Right, where was I. Oh yeah. The session. It was good to see Rob again. He hasn't been out for a while so it was good to him. Sean, Rick and I made up the rest. No Bruce tonight, but we'll allow him a week off.

Rick laid out a short course on the grass and off we set. We ran two sets of ten reps in a continuous non-stop loop. Hard effort on two sides of the triangle (taking about 30s) and then a steady jog (20s) - not the normal Sean style jog taking about 3 hours - back to the start where it was straight into the next rep. It wasn't the easiest running on the long, wet, boggy grass but it was a decent enough session all the same. I felt a bit tired after yesterday but mustn't grumble. If I am to improve I have to be more committed.

I was a bit inconsistent in the first set but every single rep in the second set was run in 31s so I'm pleased to have done that.

Not sure what I'm doing tomorrow - but I really must do something...

A Few Ways to Piss People Off: Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones, and re-route whole streets.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Deary me no, no, oh, no, oh, no. My master plan to go off fast and hang on was a bit rubbish. I only just broke nineteen minutes - I am saddened by patheticness. Woe is me. Nay, nay and thrice nay. I make no excuses I was just plain rubbish.

On a happier note, I met Martin D and he's coming with us to Nottingham on Saturday for the first of the B Team track and field matches. He's agreed to teach me to pole vault!!! - I guess he's actually agreed to 'try' and teach me to pole vault - but only if we get there in time. Still, I guess he could try and teach me even if we miss it this week, at least then I will be ready to take on the world next time. I really want to have a go - groovy. I'm really looking forward to it now. What a set of events I could be competing in - the pole vault, the 400m hurdles and all washed down with a 2k steeple chase - you little ripper...

A Few Ways to Piss People Off: Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Only managed a quick one down the gym

I had a good day at work but felt pretty knackered come the end off the day. An extra strong - and we're talking really bloody strong - cup of coffee kept me going for a while but in the last hour or two I felt my eye lids drooping - shouldn't admit to that with Graham watching but I did get a good deal done - honest. I therefore headed to the gym for a quick session on the weights and absolutely nothing on the legs - I'm saving them for tomorrow's Bridge Inn. I have decided to set out suicidally too fast and hang on - which probably means I will sink like a lead weight but I have to think it's better to try and then lose than not try at all. I don't want another 18:11. If I run 19:00 after blowing up I don't really care but if I manage... well I'm not even going to think about that I'm just going to put my foot down and bloody well go for it. He who dares...

Thought for the day: It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another decent run

Had a thoroughly great time over the weekend watching the World Long Distance Mountain Championship - or something like that. This year the Yorkshire Three Peaks Race was chosen to stage the event and it was put on really well - Bristol Half Marathon go take some notes.

I managed to get my run in - my first solo run with Brown Dog. I guess, technically that makes it not solo but all the same, I really enjoyed it.

I watched the race get underway before heading out on my modified route. In a way I ran the three peaks race myself - except for the fact I only ran up one of the peaks and I only covered about 14 miles verses the full race distance of 24 - so in reality I guess you could say my run was actually naff all like the three peaks - fair enough.

Coming past the 15k point I was in the lead - or so a few of the crowd thought - that was a bit embarrassing really, as I sheepishly explained I was only supporting - good to lead the race for a few metres though [grins to camera]. It was at that point that Brown Dog raided a small child's pack lunch - oops - I was so embarrassed and apologised profusely. Suffice to say, I made sure there were no more such incidents.

Anyway, after a bit more cheering and supporting I set off on the climb up to the final peak - my only peak - and some might say I didn't even do that [frowns to camera] because I stopped a few feet short of the summit but I did that purely on the grounds that it was really busy up there and I didn't want to get in the way - honest. With a few minutes to wait before the lead runners came through, I picked a good spot to watch the action unfold and sat down to wait. After thirty or forty minutes of support it was off down to the finish.

As Helen came past in the last few miles Brown Dog decided I was a bit rubbish and dumped me for her - didn't really think that one through properly. I then had to leg it to catch up and wrestle BD to the ground - well maybe not quite wrestle. Anyway, I managed to get her on the lead so Helen could carry on with her race while I jogged on down to the end.

All in all it was a great weekend - even though I am now completely knackered and only want to curl up and sleep. Well done to Helen for her 8th place - in the world long distance mountain thingy, which also gave her another second place in the English Championship as both events were combined. She and her club mates were robbed of the team prize though, as it was given to Russia. How can a club team compete with a national team? - but they damn nearly did anyway - foul, I call for a penalty...

Thought for the day: Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.

Friday, April 25, 2008

By the time you read this I shall be gone...

... No need to panic, I've only gone up North - and I might be some time, well, actually only a couple of days. I am posting this entry by the virtues of Blogger's new post date feature - only available on the draft beta service - this is probably far too much info for you all but for a geek like me it's really cool. Somebody shoot me. Back to the blog, so when this arrives on the inter-web-thingy I will be nowhere near a computer. And anyway, do they actually have computers up North? - ooh, I expect some stick for that one, apologies all round.

My legs are still naff but I'm looking forward to the weekend regardless...

Thought for the day: A mediocre person is always at his best.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Unfit for purpose

I cannot believe how utterly destroyed my legs felt today. First thing, things were fine but through the day they have just, for want of a better phrase, completely seized. By hometime - blimey, sounds like I've been back to school - by hometime, I was hobbling around like a complete spanner. And to think I ran less than 2k on the track - amazing. Really must have put in some effort because my muscles are pretty shredded now.

Still, I've got a day to be ready for a medium effort training run on Saturday as I watch and support all the fantasmic runners taking part in the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge up in sunny Yorkshire. They will be running almost twice as far as the thirteen miles I have planned for myself - and they've got a shed load more climb.

And as if you hadn't already guessed, I didn't manage any training tonight on account of the above - but don't worry - like you would anyway - I'm not letting myself go to pot - honest, the six pack is as six pack as ever - not that you need to know that...

Thought for the day: 'Deja Moo' - The feeling that you've heard this bull before.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ooh three's, yes please

We only ran six 300's tonight - but oh, what a set of three hundreds. Three hundreds as the like you've never seen before - or probably will again - certainly from me. By the end I was finished. Now that's not to say we had short recovery because we got a full 3 minutes between each one. It's just that, well, we legged it dead fast - or at least as fast as we could - without making ourselves sick - and that, my friends, was the aim - to run as quick as you could. It was definitely my fastest ever set of threes with out a shadow of doubt. I ran 49, 47, 47, 47, 47 and a wobbly legged final 49.

It was just Bruce and Sean tonight, with Bruce's dad joining in as well. Conditions were perfect and that was borne out by some quick times. Bruce was in the 46/47 range and Sean was on 45's except when we caught him slacking.

Thought for the day: I wouldn't be so paranoid if you weren't all out to get me!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Truncated old faithful

What's that all about? Why, my old hilly route over to Lower Failand - but truncated a bit - because I'm a lazy bastard.

Seriously though, I was out there for 45 minutes of steady running but with maximum effort on the hills - and I have to admit I went really well up them yar hills. I haven't ridden old faithful for a while and thought I might struggle but I glided almost effortlessly up the climbs - OK, so, effortless might be a tad of an exageration but I certainly didn't struggle - and that's just grand.

Obviously then I hit the gym for some upper body stuff - got to put in a bit of effort to keep trim. All set for the track tomorrow - think I shuld have the energy for it...

Thought for the day: There are many languages in the world but everyone understands a smile.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Couldn't do it

That's right, after a few times up and down the stairs at work you know that training probably isn't the right course of action when your legs feel 'the burn'. So, after having felt 'the burn' after a few times up the stairs I knocked training on the head. My legs do feel better than is normal after a hard weekend but still not quite ready to do a full on session - and I wouldn't be surprised if Rick didn't have a tough one on the cards for tonight - so I bottled it. Yep, no excuses, I bottled it.

I want to try for a slightly longer run after work tomorrow with maybe a bit of gym work ahead of Wednesday's track session. All being well that'll all go to plan...

Thought for the day: It's amazing how much better you feel once you've given up hope!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A day to recover

First time for a while but I slipped back into the old Sunday routine like I hadn't been away from it. It was like slipping on that old pair of underpants you find at the bottom of the drawer, you haven't worn them for years but you just know they're going to be comfy. Ahhh, bliss.

There were four of us out there today, Sean, Mark, Rick and me. The weather just about held. In fact it made for pretty decent running conditions. It was grey and overcast but not windy and not too cold. We headed off into Leigh Woods and then along the tow path towards Pill. Once we got to Pill we turned around and came back. Mark carried on for a few extra miles because he's preparing himself for Leg 14 of the Welsh Castles Relay, Drovers - the baddest bad boy of all the twenty stages. Have to say he is looking sharp - for an oldie (sorry Mark).

Anyway, after the run - which lasted an hour and five - I headed down the gym to complete half an hour on the bike. I worked pretty hard on the bike. Not eye balls out - but hard enough never the less. My legs feel completely shagged now but was it ever good to slip back into the old routine...

Thought for the day: You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely. ;)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

At least I got the right day this time

If not the time! What a wazzock I am.

I arose from my slumber and made my preparations, starting with a nice cup of real coffee for that race day fix. I got my kit up together. I felt good. The birds sang, the - I'll stop there because it was actually raining and fairly grey and horrible out but I still felt good about my chances. I sat down, relaxed and easy, ate breakfast. Beauty, it was all going so well. Had a lucky poo - too much information, I'll grant - and off I set in plenty of time to arrive at the race ahead of noon. The only slight problem with the plan - and some might consider this a fairly major problem - was that the race actually started at 11 - doh. I repeat, what a wazzock. So what started out as perfect planning and preparation, feeling good, ready to go, on my marks, get set - turned into a total cock up. An eleven out of ten on the wazzock scale of cock ups. So anyway, having arrived late, and with all the runners well and truly underway I decided to run anyway - so off I set, only about 36 minutes late.

It's hard to really push hard when your not in a race. I find I can never quite apply myself to training as I can to a race. The nip and tuck, the cut and thrust - enough already - of a race always makes me perform better - stop it. Still, it was almost like a race. I tried to put in race effort but running solo in the wet and wind is hard. I felt strong but knew the hour mark I set last year - 59:34 - would be hard to beat outside of a race. I kept looking at my watch as motivation, always trying to push on but it was mentally tough to run on that racing limit without actually feeling like your in a race.

Coming down into the final half mile on the road I managed to pick off the last place runner - technically, I was last, but I wasn't really in the race. So there it is I finished not last by one, after giving the entire field a 36 minute head start. I'll say it again, what a wazzock.

But I'm very pleased with my time of 1hr and 3s - just 29s outside last years time - but it actually makes my feel even more annoyed at what would surely have been a few minutes inside that had I actually been in a race.

And on a final note, I just wonder which is going to be the third race I miss - for surely, as is written in the prophecy - haven't heard much from the prophecy of late - as eggs is eggs - they come in three's...

Thought for the day: When preparing for a race, apart from the normal preparations, make sure you bloody well CHECK THE TIME!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Out of practice

Well this post is a little late - but better late than never.

Being limited on time yesterday and on the back of another full day - this working a full day business is very tiring - I only managed to get to the gym for 40 minutes on the bike. Boy am I out of practice. It was such hard work and I didn't even bother to look at the score for fear of the psychological scarring that would have been caused.

It's going to be a rest day today ahead of the Sugar Loaf fell race, a 7 miler taking place, well, up Sugar Loaf of course. I feel confident of beating last years time but you can never really tell how the conditions will affect the race. I'm still not training enough but racing is going well so fingers crossed for a good one.

And of course, I'm off to collect my award at the club AGM tonight, the headline award of the evening, Supreme Athlete of the Decade - or something like that. I'm off now to compose my speech...

Thought for the day: If only one could get that wonderful feeling of accomplishment without having to accomplish anything.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mowing the grass

It was a balmy evening on which to train. Birds twittering in the trees. Children playing football in the park. Rolled up jumpers for goal posts. A reminder of a bygone age - right, back to reality.

It was only Bruce, Bruce's dad, Rick and me tonight - Sean is away, I saw the signed note from his mum excusing him from pe.

We were excluded from the track this evening. The bouncers practically threw us out - I may have slightly exaggerated that bit - but never the less the young athletes open meeting took over the show so we had to resort to the old airport field.

After a one lap warm up - a proper warm up for once - we ran some 42-44s reps with a short sharp 20-24s recovery. Running over the grass is a fair bit harder work than the track because you really have to make sure you lift the legs. We ran five then a jogged lap recovery, then another five and then three to finish. For once I actually wanted to do some more but the others had had it. I was actually getting quicker. The first set where bang on 44's. The next were 43's and on the third set I was getting into the high 42's. Suffice to say Rick and Bruce where a fraction quicker but not vastly so. Then we put in a short warm down before heading home for tea...

Thought for the day: Indifference will certainly be the downfall of mankind, but who cares?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ooh, that was a long one

Stop it - come on, we haven't had any hard core innuendo for ages.

So did I get out for the hill reps? Maybe it was the hour run? Nope, after a long one at work - a ten hourer - is that even a word? I didn't make it for a proper session at all and ended up with just a quick twenty minutes round the block, dodging the gangs of marauding youth's stuck in pitch battles with their rivals in a bloody and painful turf war - no, hang on, that was a film. Oh, yes baby, the madness has returned.

Still, I will definitely make tomorrow's session - on the grass, because we've been kicked off the track for the night. Then Thursday's going to be a struggle to fit something in - well, a struggle to fit training in that is - ouch, I'm bad.

Thought for the day: Life is good.

Monday, April 14, 2008

New boy

Well my first day in my new job went well - wasn't actually any different from the last day on Friday - except now people bow down before me and worship me as a god - just kidding - about the worship bit - and the bowing down bit come to that.

My legs felt OK, not brilliant and not really in suitable shape to venture forth for Rick's session but it would suggest I can get out there and do some proper training tomorrow. Don't know whether to go for a steady hour or do some short sharp hill efforts. I might try this hill sprint session I read about a few months ago. You find a hill - shouldn't be too hard. You run flat out for 10 to 15 seconds up said hill - fair enough, I can manage that. Then you do it over and over a load of times - humph, that might be a problem...

Thought for the day: Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be prosecuted.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A day on the moutain

I had a great training run up in the Mountains of South Wales - bloody lucky with the weather, mind, with high cloud, good visibility and near as damn it, no wind. On the drive back the weather was horrendous, rain, sleet, hail. You name it, we drove through it but on the mountain, where it mattered, it was good - yipee.

As you might all like to know, I got my ass thoroughly kicked up there on the hill. Not only did I only run a 15 miler vs my friends 20 miles - she ran an extra 5 miles before meeting up with me for the rest - but she ran me into the ground to boot - and don't mention Brown Dog - she whooped us both.

I'm pleased with my run though - despite being whooped - I managed 2:03 for the 15 with about 3000ft of ascent so that really isn't too shaky for a run up there in the Brecon Beacons, taking in the highest point in South Wales.

After a lull in training over the last few days it was good to put in a quality long run. It's been a good few days and I'm happy - I even start my new job on Monday - but be warned I might not be in until 10...

Thought for the day: An honest answer is a sign of true friendship.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bloody nice surprise

I didn't manage to get out for that ten miler - something came up.

I shall defer it until tomorrow when I hope to be able to put in some sort of effort over the hill but not so far away...

Tootle pip, pop pickers.

Thought for the day: Remember, drive defensively! And of course, the best defense is a good offense!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Didn't feel like it

And although my heart wasn't in it I managed to get to the track anyway - and I tried to give it my best. It was a small turn out with only three of us and Rick although we did have a new chap, Mike, along with the ever present Sean.

We ran a special session tonight - the 1500m predictor. Basically you run a fast 400m then thirty seconds recovery before embarking on a fast 800m with a minute recovery before a final fast 300m then you get a nice four minute recovery before repeating the whole thing. The idea is to run each one pretty damn hard - and that means hard. Then at the end you add up the lap times divide by two - are you still with me? - and that's your 1500m estimate.

So how did I go? Not too bad, my times were 66.7, 2:38.4, 52.5 and 71.5, 2:48.5, 53.7 and if you add all that up divide by two you end up with 4 minutes and 46s as a fifteen hundred estimate - not bad when you consider my current pb is only five minutes and 24s - but my heart still wasn't in it.

Thought for the day: Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bad day

For once I don't have the words...

Thought for the day: Where there is love, there is pain

Monday, April 07, 2008

Repeat after me

Have to be quick tonight on account of my tea is in the oven, I'm starving and I'm going to eat it the moment the alarm goes off - and you can take that to the bank, put it your pipe, smoke it and then listen to the fat lady singing.

Despite a full day at work and still feeling a bit tired from my weekend with the hounds of the Gloucestershire, I managed to motivate myself to get up to the Downs for some reps with Rick and Sean. I so surprised myself on Saturday that I want to carry the momentum onwards and really get some decent training done so I can make some real gains.

Tonight we ran five 3 minute reps around a loop up on the Downs - well they were 3 minute reps for me - Sean was a bit quicker, as was Rick but I was steady - and that's good enough for me after a long race on the weekend. My legs felt OK before we started but after the first fifty metres of each rep they just seemed to fill with lactic acid - I could almost feel them filling up, it was a strange feeling indeed. Anyway, I managed laps of 3:00, 2:56, 2:55, 2:54 and a final 2:48 but I was then fully wasted. Sean and Rick tagged on a final 2 minute burst to the 'magic tree' but I couldn't face it so timed them instead - the tree isn't actually magic by the way, I just made that bit up - while I played with my magic beans - stop it.

It's an hour run for me tomorrow - if I can find the energy. Ah, there goes the alarm...

Thought for the day: The road to success is always under construction.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Something missing

Not a bad weekend if a bit tiring. After the high of my race yesterday I couldn't face a run today - got out for an hours walk but I can't count that as training. My legs feel alright considering. I hope they won't get any worse by tomorrow because if they don't I should be eligible for training - and I do want to train despite my lack of it during the last few months.

Tenth in a 15 miler - result. I'll stop going on about that now.

Well done to the Bristol teams at the Midland 12/6 Stage with both the Men and Women claiming Silver and well done to Helen F for third in the first of the British Championship Fell races over the pond - in Northern Ireland, that is.

Well, I survived going to the dogs - and they survived, so all's well that ends well. Just a shame it didn't work out for the best bit...

Thought for the day: Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Who let the dogs out

I haven't run as far as today's race distance for - let me see - over three months so I didn't really feel I would be racing, more training but I really surprised myself.

The race started in Llanbedr and I started steady - in 5th place - now that's not what I call steady! I just found myself on the front row of the grid - OK, it wasn't quite that formal and I really didn't want to be there - honest. I soon let a number of clearly faster runners come past - OK, so I didn't exactly let them come past, more precisely I bloody well couldn't stop them. I settled into a reasonable 16th place.

Then I steadied the ship over the first few miles on the climb up to the first of the three summits, Crug Mawr, and got that one out of the way having moved up to 13th.

The next few miles saw the race move off Crug Mawr and down towards the start of the Sugar Loaf ascent. The climb to Sugar Loaf goes on for miles as the route winds around the houses - except there aren't actually any houses. I took another two places and really worked hard to pull out a big gap on them. I ran as much as I could on the climb - and possibly a bit more - to really move on. Race mode had well and truelly taken hold as the race moved from training to full on race. I pushed hard to make that break but in light of the rest of the race possibly a bit too hard. Anyway, I was up into 11th.

After reaching the summit of Sugar Loaf the route takes in a good few miles of downhill starting with the steep descent from summit and then the more gentle section through Abergavenny. I actually moved up into 8th place by the time I hit the start of the Blorenge but by then I was suffering - and suffering bad. It was all I could do to actually make it to the top. Suffice to say I lost a couple of places on the way up to the final summit of Blorenge and if the truth be told I was hanging, really hanging. The lack of mileage was telling.

The final couple of miles across the top and down to the finish in Blaenafon were agonising even though they were flat or down but by then I was limping along on impulse engines having lost warp drive a good number of miles earlier - I wasn't physically limping just in case you were worrying. The spring in my step had gone and the path across the top is very stony - making the going tough. I took a few looks behind - which I don't usually do, nor, in fact, do I condone - but I had to know I was safe in my 10th place - and I was.

My time for the race was 2:33 and six minutes quicker than last year and a brilliant top ten finish. I still can't believe I managed to go quicker than last year because of the lack of training miles in my legs. Just think what I could do if I actually trained some distance into the old legs...

Thought for the day: Life isn't about how many breaths you take but about the moments that take your breath away.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Gone to the dogs

and a cat...

I've been on the first of my two day taper before the Llanbedr to Blaenafon fell race. I a had a good day at work but feel a bit knackered now. I've got a partial work day tomorrow so I hope to feel recharged - although my four charges - that's the cats and dogs - might turn out to be more tiring than a day at work. We'll see. I just hope we all survive through to Sunday...

Thought for the day: A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Just breathe

Well I actually made it to the track tonight - whoo hoo. I struggled a bit though. In fact, I've been struggling with my breathing for a few weeks. It doesn't seem to affect me when I race - well not that I notice - but in training - and I haven't even been pushing to my limit - I really struggle for breath at the end of each rep. I just can't seem to get enough oxygen in quickly enough. When I finish each rep I really gasping for breath. I hope it will pass because it's a worry.

Anyway, it was a night for the regulars, Sean, Bruce and Nick - who, incidently, gave me some stick about missing last week - hands up, can't grumble at that. We ran two pyramid sets of 300/400/500/400/300 with about 60s recoveries and a slow jogged lap between sets. I think we all seemed to go fairly steady tonight. No one was burning it up but it was all fairly solid. My splits were 53, 73, 95, 76, 55 and 55, 74, 98, 75, 49. I really gave it a blast on that final one but boy did I struggle with lack of the old O2 at the end - it was worth it though, just to scare Sean.

I think I need to ease back now in preparation for the Llambedr to Blaenafon fell race, a 15 mile beast this coming Saturday. I'm woefully under prepared but heck, I didn't get where I am today without being just a tad on the mad side...

Thought for the day: The secret of staying young is good health - and lying about your age.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A bit lethargic but...

at least I managed to get out there. Out into the wilderness. The vast, unending expanse of raw countryside, the - alright, I'll leave it there but you get the idea - Knowle West - just kidding. No, after a long - and, some might say, alright, I say, productive day at work - I made it to Ashton Court for a steady hour around and about. I was pretty tired come the end but then it has been a longish day for me. I finished off with a short workout in the gym - first time for a week or two but I will keep up with it from now on - cubs honour, dib dib.

Thought for the day: It's no use waiting for your ship to come in unless you've sent one out first.